August 2023 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
August 31, 2023
August 2023 GBU

Hey Startmate Family,

Last month’s update’s “bad” touched on getting our lowest ever NPS for the Women Fellowship program.

As you, our community, have been such incredible custodians of this program, I wanted to take this opportunity to bring you on the journey.

Why does the Women Fellowship exist?

The Women Fellowship exists to create gender diversity in startups by flooding them with hundreds of incredibly talented, ambitious women.

We equip our Women Fellows through a combination of coaching, community and content. 

The program started as a small experiment of 6 Fellows back in 2019 but within the space of a cohort had taken on a life of its own, and became this incredible nexus of hungry women who wanted to get into startups.

The Fellowship, alongside the ecosystem, was booming.

What changed?

However, when the public perception in 2021/2022 shifted from venture boom to funding crunch, it sadly also came with a shift in appetite for women to “take the risky move” into a startup job.

The hunger and desire was still there.

Our brand reputation is strong enough that the applicants were too.

But the readiness to move into startups, as well as the availability of jobs both took a hit. 

So what did we do?

We responded by broadening the program to expand beyond just “getting a job in a startup”.

The Women Fellowship evolved to encompass women who might be interested in (1) founding or (2) investing in a startup not just (3) working on one. We even dropped the price of the program because of the tighter market.

So we became everything to everyone.

Which meant that we became nothing to nobody.

So what now?

We made a mistake in switching our focus away from getting women in jobs.

We tried it, it was the wrong move, we’ve reflected, we’ve gotten feedback, and now we’re back.

We’ve built clear pathways for the different outcomes rather than trying to jam them all into one program.

  • Wanna found a startup? Join Launch Club.
  • Wanna invest in startups? Join First Believers.
  • Wanna join a startup? Join the Women Fellowship.

We are so proud of the impact we’ve had already, with ~70% of our 750+ women fellows in startup careers.

So, we’re unapologetically doubling down on the Women Fellowship getting women into startup jobs.

We’ll keep building the Women Fellowship into the force of nature that it is.

We won’t stop trying, learning, iterating and improving till we’ve changed the equation.

What’s on?


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  • 🤝 We’re launching a Manager Fellowship and it might just be the best thing you ever do for your career. Make managing your superpower in this Startmate x The Mintable collab.


  • 🧑‍💻 No Code Fellowship - In a small but mighty first cohort of 18 fellows, 82% of them are building their own startup - we’ve been super impressed at the dedication and pace so far. Plus over half the cohort are women!
  • 🧑🚀 Launch Club - Launch Club has kicked off welcoming 86 ambitious founders into the Startmate community. The founders will learn from the expertise of Startmate alumni, Lane Litz, and Blinq founder, Jarrod Webb, to kick things off.
  • 🚀 Founder/Mentor NPS update - our founders are deep in customer conversations just halfway through this cohort gearing up for their Investor and SM community demo day!
  • 🦄 Continuity Fund - We’ve made our first 3 investments into alumni companies through our continuity fund, which is bloody exciting. We’re not publicly able to share these yet - but here’s a teaser: 2013, SYD19, NZ20. And we have the second close of the $10m fund this week!
  • 📈 High Performance Fellowship - MVP cohort wrapped up! The testimonials speak for themselves ie “This program has shifted my perspective, improved my attitude, and had a huge compounding impact on my overall wellbeing.”
  • 🪩 PMF for Startmate Community drinks -  SYD and MEL in particular are getting 250+ signups for our monthly drinks with almost no advertising on our end. These drinks have become a foundational event in the SM calendar that we all really look forward to, and it’s been awesome to see the word spread organically within and outside of our community
  • 🧠 Upcoming programs - We’ve seen awesome interest in a bunch of our recurring programs we’re running again this year, especially our Student Fellowship, Climate Fellowship and Product Fellowship. Get around them if you know anyone who needs to get on board! 


  • 🤦 We attempted a google migration (so you can hit us up on .com instead of that resulted in some of the team getting 5000+ emails from Batko. Whilst this isn’t that far off from a standard ‘inbox zero’ day from Batko, it did require some patient rectifying. (this one was clearly not written by me).


  • 😷 Sickness ripped through the SM team - Winter has not been kind to us. I think one day we had 7 people off sick.

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